The Culloden Blunderbuss

With the support of donors and contributions from across the world, at the end of 2014 the National Trust for Scotland was able to purchase the Culloden blunderbuss for its permanent collection. But, what is a blunderbuss?

The Culloden Blunderbuss. Picture by Peter Jolly

The term blunderbuss is from the Dutch word donderbus, which is a combination of donder, meaning thunder and bus, meaning pipe.

Rather than the sleek long muskets this gun is short and stocky and is probably best described as an 18th Century shotgun. The wide barrel allowed multiple projectiles to be fired towards the enemy doing intense damage to any enemies. Unsurprisingly the weapon was used to good effect at close range but it was not designed for accuracy with the muskets used for longer range shots.

The blunderbuss we have on display at Culloden was made around 1670 by John Finch, a leading London firearms maker, and is a rare survivor of its type. Upon the barrel is an inscription ‘Taken at the Battle of Culloden 16th April 1746 by Capt John Goodenough with 18 balls in it ‘ which adds yet more intrigue to this special piece. Records show that Captain Goodenough fought with the Government forces at Culloden in Blakeney’s 27th Foot Regiment and this blunderbuss would have made quite a battle trophy for the Captain.

As owners of the blunderbuss we hope to keep this item on display for the public to access and to help share the history of Culloden.

All the best,

The Culloden Team

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